Accessory review: PhoGo iPhone camera case and lenses
When looking at iPhone lens accessories, there are a lot of options. Most offer some sort of wide angle/macro/fisheye combo, but few offer full protection as well. The PhoGo case and lens combo from Proporta will keep your iPhone or iPod touch fully covered while also serving as a lens and tripod attachment.
The case itself is kind of bulky, but equally sturdy. After I spent a day reviewing the camera hardware, I carried my iPhone 5 around in the PhoGo case for a few weeks and while it seemed a little cumbersome at first, I quickly got used to its size.
PhoGo’s case has you covered. It protects all corners and edges of the iPhone while leaving access to the buttons, headphone jack and lightning connector port. It bulks out near the camera to hold the lenses as well as the opposite end for the tripod attachment.
The lens hardware for the Phogo case looks a lot like the Photojojo Lens Series I reviewed earlier this year. Off of the case, the lenses even have a magnetic back for a rear lens cap protector— just like the Photojojo lenses. The Phogo lenses are much easier to work with than the Photojojo Lenses. Instead of attaching with a magnet, these lenses fit snugly in the case's lens mount.
To test out the PhoGo case and lenses, I followed my husband and his friend to the beach. Click on the photos below to view them in full resolution.
When you take off Phogo's wide-angle lens, you are left with a thin macro attachment. Just like the other smartphone macro lenses I've tried, you have to be mindful to take photos far enough away from your subject so you don't cast a shadow, while still getting close enough to keep your subject in focus. In bright sunlight, this task is easy enough, but indoors, it can be a little tricky.
The wide angle and fisheye lenses both have a bit of vignetting on the edges of the frame, the fisheye being much more dramatic than the wide angle. But even with the obstructions on the side, the majority of the image is clear and relatively distortion-less.
At $79.99, the Phogo isn't the cheapest smartphone lens system on the market, but you get what you pay for. In the Phogo lens/case package, you have a sturdy case with tripod attachment, a lens hood (that was unfortunately missing from my review unit), and the fish eye, wide angle, and macro lenses. Phogo also sells the case, lens hood, and lenses separately, though it is a much better deal if you purchase them all together.
What we like: The case provides excellent protection, tripod attachment and a secure mount for the lenses. The lenses have pretty clean optics compared to some of the other smartphone lens accessories we've tried.
What we don't like: The case could be too bulky for some iPhone users. There is some distortion on the wide angle and fisheye lenses and the macro lens is hard to use without getting some shadow in the frame.